In the past two months, I’ve been listening to some new music. I downloaded Kanye and Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne, and it’s great. Sara Bareilles’ Kaledescope Heart is a really good. For some reason, it’s taken me 23 years to discover Rage Against the Machine, and I’m quickly playing catch up. I don’t think they ever wrote a bad song, and I’m pretty sure that Tom Morello is some sort of guitar wielding god.
As a drummer and musician, I absolutely love the grooves and jams coming out of the band. Every song grooves, and every song can get you excited and pumped up. As I learn more lyrics, I realize that Zack de la Rocha was very politically outspoken, and I enjoy plenty of what he has to say. (Sidenote: If you’re interested, THIS is a video of Tom Morello at Zuccotti Park supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement.) I used their philosophical and political positioning in a recent class, when my professor asked for examples of music that is significant to you. I considered Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, Incubus’s Make Yourself, and John Coltraine’s rendition of My Favorite Things, but decided that Killing in the Name would provide the most impact. Other than the initial shock of obscenities in a lecture hall, I hope that most of my classmates appreciated the aesthetics of the song. (I’m predicting it went 50/50.)
While it was meant to be a song of protest and not motivation, I don’t find any other song to be as motivating as Killing in the Name, to the point where I’ll turn it off if I’m too calm for it. I challenge you to give it a listen and then not want to go out and do something! For me, that something is usually trying to pick up heavy shit.
In our class discussion, a few other students mentioned that it’s a great gym song, and I clearly agree with them. It may not be the best song to listen to during a yoga class, but it’ll give you a boost when you’re trying to get strong. It’s definitely all in my head, but I like to listen to the song before/during any PR’s, and it gets a lot of play when I’m at the gym. In fact, it came on while I was squatting on Saturday, and my training partner eagerly asked if I was going for a max. Steve knows what’s up.
As powerful as the original recording is, I would like to keep everything safe for work, so I’m going to use an alternative version. This version from the FourPlay String Quartet is almost as awesome, but you can easily search for the original if you’d like. (THIS live version is absolutely awesome.) Some of my musical friends might appreciate the playing in this rendition, but if you’re not musically experienced, think about it this way: When was the last time a string quartet made you this pumped up? This song is powerful as all hell.
If you find yourself in the gym and in need of motivation or want to create an environment conducive to strength training, Rage Against the Machine is probably going to be your best bet. I can think of few other bands which can motivate me with every song, and odds are you’ve already seen or will find the same thing. If you disagree with me, or have recommendations for other bands/songs to listen to in the gym, leave a comment and let me know!